Plans for the centre include a tearoom and toilets, plus improved parking and education facilities in front of Decoy Lake, a site that is away from the area of the wetland reserve designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Potteric Carr Nature Reserve is South Yorkshire’s premier birdwatching site, with more than 235 birds recorded and over 80 breeding on site including rarities such as bittern and black-necked grebe.
Trails throughout the site wind through wooded glades, reed-lined lakes and wildflower meadows.
Andy Dalton, manager at Potteric Carr said: “Currently we are in the very early stages of planning, with initial designs having been put forward by the architects, Bauman Lyons Architects.
“As part of these initial steps we have also undertaken a comprehensive assessment of Potteric Carr, to identify the best location for the centre. Obviously our main consideration for this was impact on wildlife. This process led us to identify the area in front of Decoy Lake as the best place – a spot which is easily accessible and outside of the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designation.
“We are very excited about the new plans, as it will provide this important visitor site with the facilities it rightly deserves, allowing us to better engage with those who come to learn about the wildlife of the place.”
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, which looks after 96 wildlife spots in the region, has already sourced some of the £800,000 required to cover the cost of the development, and hopes to have work complete ready for opening to the public in spring 2017.